Recommended for use by Lodge Almoners
At the recent Almoners Workshops in Morley, Otley and Sheffield a number of items of good practice were discussed and these have been placed on the Almoners’ Bulletin Board for information
If an almoner is considering making an application for a grant it is sometimes useful if a very rough idea can be given as to the feasibility. The Masonic Relief Grants Committee (MRCG) meets on a monthly basis to consider applications for assistance with daily living expenses. The following notes are intended as a very rough guidance for almoners to see if an application is worthwhile. THESE FIGURES ARE GUIDELINES ONLY – THEY ARE NOT HARD AND FAST RULES
The Petitions Committee considers a minimum Income Standard as follows
|Single person||£10,500 per annum|
|Couple||£16400 per annum|
|Single pensioner||£8600 per annum|
|Couple Pensioner||£12,600 per annum|
These figures are considered to be minimum incomes required to afford an acceptable standard of living following deduction of housing costs i.e. rent or mortgage interest, council tax and water rates. Heating/lighting costs up to £1500 are included in the guideline but the Committee will increase this by £800 for those of pensionable age up to a maximum of £2300. Capital Limits
A newcomer to the application forms may find them very lengthy, however just remember in all cases we are distributing money and it is very important that in these economic circumstances we do our best for all of us. Please remember the following points:-
Obtain copies of all correspondence relating to State benefits
The small grant fund has been overhauled to help all eligible beneficiaries who are facing a long wait to see a consultant. If the wait is longer than 8 weeks applicants just need to ring MSF – your Assistant Almoner should be able to help. Please ring 020 7404 1550 for the MSF
MSF has now launched the MSF Counselling Careline to offer support to people in need of counselling and other talking therapies. It is to help those experiencing emotional and psychological difficulties.
The Counselling Service is a confidential 24 hour freephone helpline operated by trained counsellors who will listen and offer professional guidance. Initial contact should be through the MSF during office hours on 020 7404 1550.
More information can be found on the MSF website at www.msfund.org.uk
If you or one of your Brethren are considering making an Application to MSF for a grant to fund private treatment, care or support, please go through the Eligibility Calculator to be found on the MSF web-site at www.msfund.org.uk
There are 10 questions for you to answer which will ascertain your eligibility to apply checking on:
Following completion of the Calculator, your next steps will be explained
When you have a new petitioner it is necessary to open a bank account in the name of the petitioner e.g. Bro. /Mrs. AB, and the Lodge. It can sometimes be difficult to do this, and banks may not be very cooperative.
It has been found that Barclays Bank are amenable to opening Community Accounts – useful numbers provided – 0845 6052345 and 0800 515462.
Attendance Allowance (AA) is a tax free benefit for people aged 65 or over who need help with personal care because they are physically or mentally disabled.
You may get Attendance Allowance if:-
If you are under 65 you may be able to get Disability living Allowance. Attendance Allowance isn’t usually affected by any savings or income you may have.
If you have a progressive disease and you are not expected to live for more than another six months there are special rules for claiming to make sure you get your benefit more quickly and easily. Under the special rules, the person doesn’t have to prove how much care they need. This means there is much less information that the person has to enter on the claim form. Claims made under the special rules are given priority treatment. A short medical report about the ill person’s condition must be sent in with the claim form. The report is called DS1500. The ill person or their representative should ask their doctor or specialist for a DS1500 report. The DS1500report will be based upon what is currently known about the Ill person’s condition.
It is not necessary to see the doctor to obtain the report. A nurse or doctor’s receptionist can be asked to arrange for the report to be issued.
The amount you get depends on how much your disability affects you. There are two rates of Attendance Allowance.
|Attendance Allowance||Each Week||Equivalent per year|
|Higher rate if you need help both day and night||£77.45||£4,027.40|
|Lower rate if you need help during the day or night||£51.85||£2,696.20|
Attendance Allowance is normally paid directly into any account of your choice which accepts Direct Payment of benefits. This might be a bank, building society or other account provider.
You be able to get someone else to collect your Attendance Allowance if you wish. For help with this please contact your bank, building society or other account provider. If you would like more information about how you can be paid by other means you should contact the office dealing with your claim.
If you start to get Attendance Allowance, it might increase the amount of other benefits or credits you are entitled to. You may get an extra amount for severe disability with Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit or Pension Credit. If you are in receipt of any of these payments you should apply for a re-assessment immediately after Attendance Allowance is granted.
Attendance Allowance is normally ignored as income for working out these income related benefits and credit.
Claim straight away – if you delay you may lose benefit.
You can get a claim pack by:
The local Age Concern or local advice service such as Citizens Advice Bureau should be able to help with the completion of the form.
To get Attendance Allowance you must be in Great Britain or be treated as living here and meet other conditions about your residence and presence.
Also, changes to your circumstances can affect the amount of Attendance Allowance you get, or whether you get it
This fund can offer help with funeral costs if the person arranging the funeral is on low income. It is a one-off tax free payment
The person responsible for the arrangements needs to be on one of the following benefits:
Contact Job Centre Plus for a claim form by visiting www.direct.gov.uk or ring the Social Fund Enquiries line – 0845 6088 671
The Social Fund helps pay for a simple, respectful, low cost funeral.
Please contact your Lodge Almoner or the Area Assistant Almoners for more information.